Sincerely, BLLA

High Society: Stayntouch

The BLLA team sits down with Michael Heflin, Chief Revenue Officer at Stayntouch, to discuss what it means to be boutique. BLLA: What is the ...

The BLLA team sits down with Michael Heflin, Chief Revenue Officer at Stayntouch, to discuss what it means to be boutique.

BLLA: What is the mission statement of your company?

MH: “We believe that great technology should be unburdened. That it exists to amplify 一 and not restrict 一 the human experience. Technology should never stand in the way of great hospitality. Rather, our mission is to empower hotel operators and staff to deliver their own unique version of the ideal guest experience. Any guest experiences a hotel can design, we can deliver with a flexible, powerful, and easy-to-use platform. In short, we deliver the unburdened, guest-centric PMS.

BLLA: How do you help boutique hotels thrive?

MH: “‘Thrive’ is such a perfect word for why we are so passionate about hospitality technology, and the difference it can make for boutique hotels. Stayntouch aims to provide hoteliers with the technological flexibility they need to define their own version of success and execute that vision without obstacle or interference.  

That’s why we consult closely with hoteliers at every stage of the customer lifecycle to ensure that they understand how to get the most out of technology. A combination of remote or in-person implementation, a dedicated client-service manager, and a wealth of product and best-practice training allows hoteliers to design the tech ecosystem most ideal for their business and customer base, while also streamlining operations, maximizing potential revenue, and empowering staff. 

“Whatever a boutique hotelier envisions, we can help deliver.”

BLLA: What have been some of your favorite boutique hotels to work with?

MH: “I can think of a few off the top of my head: 

“As a modern glamping hotel, Under Canvas completely does away with an interior lobby. By leveraging our mobile check-in feature, they have completely revolutionized the guest welcome experience by allowing their guests to check-in from their smartphone… under the stars! 

“Mint House at 70 Pine is tapping into the growing segment of remote and virtual workers by utilizing hourly and day-use bookings. Whenever guests want to escape the monotony or distractions of home-based remote work, they can rent a quiet and modern room for a few hours during the day for teleworking, coworking or private in-person meetings. 

Bode combines the best aspects of hotels, such as communal spaces and concierge-style services, with the space and privacy of apartment-style living. Bode makes the most of mobile guest messaging and contactless check-in to streamline the welcome process, maintain a more organic, communal atmosphere throughout the property, and provide exceptional service that is literally only one text away. Zoku Amsterdam has also leveraged mobile and kiosk-based check-in to create a more guest-centric lobby and welcome experience. Instead of settling for a lobby that’s little more than a glorified waiting room, Zoku has created a bright and welcoming space for dining, socializing, and co-working.”

BLLA: Where do you see this niche headed in the future?

MH: “I see boutique hotels as a collection of dozens of different unique niches all best defined by their own individuality. From that perspective, I can see even greater diversification in the future. The definition of what it means to be a boutique hotel will only broaden. Soon, the industry will witness a radical reformation of the hotel-guest relationship, with boutique hoteliers ultimately driving that evolution. 

“We are passionate about boutique hotels because we recognize their need to explore, to take risks, and to push the boundaries of innovation. It is our mission to empower that exploration and ensure that boutique hoteliers can continue to redefine the guest experience and thrive in previously untapped hospitality markets.

“One area that we are particularly excited about is the flexible management and delivery of inventory and assets, where hoteliers will have near limitless ability to customize asset classes, and guests will be able to completely personalize their stay, down to individual amenities and room properties. For example, what one day is a four-bedroom villa for a family, will tomorrow be four individual studios, and the day after will be an executive meeting space with a connected two-bedroom suite. Boutique hotels will push the revolution of the crossover between co-working spaces and vacation spaces in a way that will change how we view the integration of work and play.”

BLLA: Why do you believe boutique hoteliers are more open minded than traditional hoteliers?

MH: “I think the answer to that question is contained in the question itself. Many hoteliers operate across a portfolio of properties and realize that the boutique environment is better suited to exploring creative solutions and reimagining the guest experience.

Traditional hotels are typically seen as more focused on streamlining operations. While that is certainly a worthwhile goal, boutique hotels really blossom when they look to engage with guests in new and creative ways. As such, they are not beholden to traditional ways of booking rooms, setting up a lobby and welcome experience, or building a technology ecosystem. 

“Instead, they are free to explore. And that freedom is inspiring. While the traditional hospitality model might be more straightforward, it is more liberating 一 and fun! 一 to play with the definition of hospitality and push the boundaries of hotel innovation. It is our purpose and passion at Stayntouch to enable and empower this new form of expansive creativity.”

BLLA: Why do you believe in the boutique movement?

MH: “I believe boutique hotels, and boutique hoteliers, will drive the industry forward in a way traditional hoteliers do not have the flexibility and freedom to do. Boutique and independent hotels have always been, and will always be, at the cutting edge of hospitality. Hospitality is not a one-size fits all game, and we become better every day because of how we are pushed and challenged by our boutique hotel customers and the industry’s most innovative hoteliers.”

About Michael Heflin

Michael Heflin serves as Stayntouch’s Chief Revenue Officer, overseeing all revenue functions, strategic partnerships, and client success. He benefits from over a decade of leadership experience in management consulting and Travel. Most recently he was President of Andrew Harper, and previously served as SVP of Hotels for Travel Leaders Group. Prior to TLG he was SVP/COO of Anglepoint.

Stayntouch is a member of BLLA – view more details here!

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